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The French to storm Queenstown
Le quatorze juillet (14 July) 2011
Les Français viennent à Queenstown
On 14 July 1789 the people of Paris stormed the Bastille and now, 221 years later, the French are coming to do battle in Queenstown.
But New Zealand’s premier lake and alpine resort town stands ready and, come September, will mount a formidable defense to defend the nation’s honour.
The date (18 September), time (3pm) and battleground (Queenstown Recreation Ground) have been agreed, as have the weapons of choice - the French Classics and Classic All Blacks rugby teams.
The wily French know that their rugby teams have often proved to be New Zealand’s nemesis and will play on this psychological advantage. The All Blacks’ defeat at the hands of the French in the 1999 Rugby World Cup semi-final is still painfully etched in the memory banks of many Kiwi fans.
“Will we hold it against them? Of course we won’t!” said match co-organiser Graham Budd, Destination Queenstown’s General Manager of Marketing.
The French are still keeping some of their team under wraps, but among them is centre Franck Comba who notched up 13 caps for France between 1998 and 2001 and hooker Marc de Rougemont (known as Le Rouge or ‘The Red’) who also had 13 caps for France. Lock David Auradou, another face well known to the All Blacks, looks set to be another formidable opponent on the day.
New Zealand, however, will leave nothing to chance when it comes to defending its national pride. Not only will the Classic All Blacks have home ground advantage, they’re also bringing in the big guns with the likes of Christian Cullen, Jeff ‘Goldie’ Wilson, Andrew Mehrtens, Justin Marshall, Tony Brown, Charlie Hore, Reuben Thorne, Dion Muir, Kees Meeuws, Scott Robertson and Queenstown’s own Kelvin Middleton taking the field.
The epic rugby battle between the Classic All Blacks and French Classics, presented by Steinlager, will be staged on 18 September at the Queenstown Recreation Ground, right in the heart of town. It’s expected to attract locals and travelling RWC 2011 fans from all nations.
Limited general admission and seated area tickets for the match went on sale last Friday (8 July) and demand has already been strong.
“It’s going to be a great day out for locals and visitors alike and it’s a perfect way for families to join in the nation’s RWC 2011 celebrations at minimal cost,” said Mr Budd.
The match, organised by Destination Queenstown in conjunction with Classic All Blacks convener Andy Haden and the Sevens with Altitude committee, is one of a number of events happening around Queenstown as part of the nationwide REAL New Zealand Festival.
“This Classics match and other food, wine and cultural events happening during September and October mean there’s never been a better time to come to Queenstown and enjoy everything our vibrant town has to offer,” said Mr Budd. “There’s plenty of food, wine, nightlife, shopping and accommodation to suit everyone.”
While in Queenstown, both teams are being hosted by The Rees Hotel, a five star luxury apartment hotel on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, which is a major supporter of the match.
Essential match info:
- ‘Curtain raisers’ start at 11am and the Classics match kicks off at 3pm.
- A limited number of tickets can be pre-purchased via the Ticketek website www.ticketek.co.nz:
- The remainder (4,750) of the general admission tickets will be sold at the gate on game day. Children aged 16 and under can attend the game for free.
- Recreation Ground capacity: 7,000 people
Editor’s note: Queenstown will also be a RWC 2011 official team training venue for four teams - Ireland, England, Romania and Georgia.
Photo caption: French Classics team
To download high resolution images please click here:
|French Classics team|
JPEG Image: 1.25 MB, 3.1 minutes @ 56kbps
For more information please contact:
Phone: +64 3 441 0707
Classic All Blacks Convener
Phone: +64 9 378 9470 / 021 901 901
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